The nine stories of CAUTION Men in Trees capture the pressure, need, and frequent helplessness of people confronted with intractable reality. As suggested by the collection's epigram from Superman—"Did you say kryptonite?"—the characters in these stories have reached a point where they realize that parts of their lives are coming undone and that their own thoughts and actions—or, frequently, the failure to act soon enough—are the cause. Though settings and situations vary, the same sense of overwhelming urgency recurs throughout the collection. The stories reflect a world distressed by conflict and settings fraught with occurrences of personal violence.
Against the background of the O. J. Simpson trial a man refuses to assist in a friend's suicide and realizes that he has been avoiding many unpleasant truths about himself and his life. A son faced with his father's debilitating stroke sees that he must ultimately confront the mortality and the feelings of grief that he has been concealing. In the title story, the film Bugsy and talk about the disappointing reality of pop-culture heroes set the scene for a husband's frightening confrontation with his own shortcomings. The shock of stark revelation combines with tightly wound chains of suggestive events to create a collection of gripping, edgy stories about individuals who, however battered, survive. [from dust jacket]
Winner of the Flannery O'Conner Award for Short Fiction and the Association for Mormon Letters Award for Short Fiction, 2000.